Bird Nest Fern

Botanical Name: Asplenium nidus

Bird Nest Fern is one of the easiest types of ferns to grow. This tropical native is fast-growing and will live for many years with good care.

In its natural habitat, it grows as an epiphyte (a plant that grows on trees) in the warm, moist, tropical rain forests. Despite its tropical beginnings, it adapts well to being a house plant. Place your potted fern where it is out of direct sun and away from drafts, which can scorch the fronds. Provide humidity and you'll keep it healthy.

bird nest fern
Those fronds can reach 4 ft (1.2 m) long in its native habitat.

This unique fern grows in the form of a deep rosette of large, shiny, spear-shaped fronds. New fronds unfurl from the center of the plant. Its fronds are fragile, so I'd put this fern where passersby won't brush up against it.

As Bird Nest Fern ages, the oldest, outer fronds will turn brown. This is normal. You can cut them off at the base to keep the plant looking neat.

Repot young plants in spring, every couple years or when the roots fill the pot. Use a container with drainage holes to avoid overwatering.

This fern's problems are few. Watch for scale insects, that look like small, brown discs on fronds. If you find an invasion of these pests, spray with soapy water followed by clean water. Don't use insecticides on ferns because they are easily damaged by chemicals.

Bird Nest Fern Care Tips

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Origin: Southeast Asia and Tropical Australia

Height: 2 ft (60 cm) in a container indoors

Light: Moderate to bright light. No direct sun. Turn pot regularly for even growth.

Water: Keep soil evenly moist. Water the potting mix, not the center of the rosette, otherwise it can easily rot. Water less in winter. Yellow fronds are often a sign of overwatering.

Humidity: Moderate. If the relative humidity drops below 50%, use a humidity tray or room humidifier to add moisture to the air around the fern.

Temperature: 60-75°F/16-24°C

Soil: Peat moss based

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks in spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.

Propagation: Spores


Green Thumb Tip

Keep the broad, shiny fronds dust-free by spraying with water and gently wiping them with a damp cloth.

Never use leafshine products on ferns because it can severely damage their delicate fronds.

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This plant gets its name from the unfurled fronds in the center of the plant that look like a nest.

Did you know...

In its native tropical habitat, this fern grows as an epiphyte, growing on tree branches. It has a shallow root system and can be planted in a shallow pot.

bird nest fern, bird nest fern care, asplenium nidus